July 24, 2014 by atxryan
To qualify for BizSpark you need to be able to say yes to the following statements:
- I’m developing a software/technology product.
- My company is less than 5 years old.
- Our annual revenue is currently less than $1 million.
- My company is privately held.
You should also have a website for your business that says what you’re doing. I understand that sometimes your startup is in “stealth mode”, but ideally one can get a sense of what you’re building from your website. If you don’t currently have a website, head over to http://azure.microsoft.com and start your free trial today. You can get a free WordPress (plus many other blog and CMS frameworks) website up and running in minutes.
Enroll your startup in BizSpark
If you were given a registration URL by a Microsoft Evangelist or BizSpark Network Partner, make sure to use that URL to access the BizSpark site. This URL contains a code that will expedite your enrollment. Otherwise go to bizspark.com and click “Join Now”. Scroll down on the signup page and click “Sign in to join BizSpark.”
Sign-in with your Microsoft Account and click “Sign In” to continue. If you don’t already have a Microsoft Account (formerly known as Windows Live ID) you’ll need to create one.
Complete the enrollment info. Note a few things:
- If you were given a registration link by a Microsoft BizSpark Champ or Evangelist, then the enrollment code should already be entered for you. You can also manually input the code here if you weren’t provided a link. Don’t worry if you don’t have an enrollment code; this input box can be empty. You can still apply to BizSpark, but your application will undergo a complete review by the BizSpark team before it is approved. It’s important that your website and company description are up to date as this is the primary information the BizSpark team looks at when considering applications.
- These fields are important because they help to establish the validity of your business as a startup looking to create software or apps to sell.
- For your Company URL, if you don’t already have website for your company, you could quickly create a free Windows Azure Website for your company. You can also link to a Facebook page, a crowdfunding profile page (Kickstarter, etc), or your company’s LinkedIn profile. In short, where should someone go to find out more about your company and what you’re developing.
- If your Company URL doesn’t say much publicly about what you’re making, then make sure you’re very verbose and descriptive in the Company Description. Some startups operate in “Stealth Mode.” That’s cool. Just let us know in the private application what you’re building so we have information to vet you with.
Next, agree to the BizSpark EULA and Agreement and you’re all set. If you were given a code from a Microsoft Evangelist, then you may be enrolled immediately. If not, then your application will be reviewed in the next few days and you’ll receive a welcome email once it’s approved.
You’re enrolled in BizSpark. Now what?
Once enrolled, you will be brought to the My BizSpark page. From here you can gain access to all the benefits provided by BizSpark:
- Azure benefit – Each BizSpark member gets $150 in monthly credits. Use it to deploy virtual machines, web apps, mobile services, service buses, and more.
- MSDN Visual Studio Ultimate subscription – Get licenses and download the latest software such as Visual Studio, SQL Server, Windows operating systems, and more.
- Windows and Windows Phone Developer accounts – Register your account and submit apps for free.
- Office 365 Developer Subscription – Use as a development and testing environment for Office and SharePoint apps.
- Access special offers from our Visual Studio partners, including Xamarin discount.
- Additional team members – Add your startup team. Note that each additional team member gets all of the above benefits. Yep, that’s right! MSDN subscription, $150 in Azure credits, everything… for each team member.
Activate your $150/month Azure benefit.
Access your Benefits from the My BizSpark profile page. From there you can scroll down to access your Microsoft Azure benefits.
You will be taken to the MSDN Subscriber Downloads page. You should already be signed in to the right account, but you can check under “My Subscriptions” to ensure you’re looking at your BizSpark benefits.
Click on the “Activate Windows Azure” link.
If prompted enter the credentials for your Microsoft Account (make sure it is the same account you used to enroll in BizSpark).
Once signed up, you will be taken to your Microsoft Azure Subscriptions page. You should see your BizSpark subscription listed. If you have other subscriptions associated with this Microsoft account, you’ll see these under Subscriptions as well.
If you click through to your Azure Management Portal, you’ll see that you can also see the current status of your BizSpark credits by clicking on the green banner at the top.
Bonus: You can add other co-administrators to your Microsoft Azure BizSpark subscription. Go to Settings and select the Administrators tab. Click Add at the bottom of the page, and enter the email (Microsoft Account) associated with your teammates.
Download software from MSDN
Open msdn.com/subscriptions and sign in with your Microsoft Account if needed (You can click on the “Sign In” link in the top right corner. Make sure that you are signed in with the same Microsoft Account you used to enroll in BizSpark. Once signed in, click the “Subscriber Downloads” link along the top:
From the “Subscriber Downloads” page, you can search for just about any Microsoft Product and download it. For example click on the “Visual Studio 2013 Ultimate” (or search for it if it isn’t shown by default) link.
Add Team Members
If you have other developers on your team, you can add up to 4 additional members to your BizSpark team. Each of the members you add gets their own MSDN Subscription and their own Azure Subscription with $150/month of credit.
Scroll down on the “Manage” page, and click the “+ Add” link, then complete the fields to add the new member.
When you press enter, the row will be added, and the membership status will be “Pending” while an invite email is sent to their email address.
When the member receives their invitation email, they can use the link in the email to activate their membership. When they follow the link provided, they will need to sign into BizSpark.com using their Microsoft Account.
Once enrolled, they can use the steps described above to download software from MSDN and to activate their Azure benefit, and more!
Go forth and build your business!
You’ve now got the tools and the cloud services to accelerate your startup.
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